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1. I found it particularly interesting how Dr. McClurken chose his selected region of focus. The selection of Pittsylvania county and Danville specifically as the town of focus helps to isolate the issue of mental health and “human consequences”. I thought this angle was a very informative one because a lot of Civil War history tends to glance over these “human consequences” and focus moreso on battles, casualties, and general destruction. -Joey Welch

2. “The massive economic, physical, and psychological impact of the Civil War on Confederate veteran families caused the most needy to slip through the cracks of the older, local system.” I saw a correlation in this passage similar to the deinstitutionalization period of the early-mid 20th century. - Joey Welch

1. Gonaver mentions a census in 1840 that pointed to a disproportionately high rate of insanity among African Americans in Maine; what sort of observations were made regarding mental health in the census and how was this information procured? - Morgan

2. An identified source of distress among Civil War veterans in Virginia was the fall of the Confederacy and race relations following the war. How did this impact relationships between black and white patients and black and white patients and attendants? - Morgan

1. In chapter 3 of The Peculiar Institution and the Making of Modern Psychiatry, 1840-1880 it is interesting that at a time when religion seems important to the culture and morals that people are considered to be mentally ill with “religious excitement”. What would be the differences here that would take them out of the “norm” for religion and into what would have been considered a state of excitement? — Ruth Curran

2. In chapter 4 of The Peculiar Institution and the Making of Modern Psychiatry, 1840-1880 the author argues that “Asylum administrators increasingly chose to focus on women’s reproductive and sexual organs . . .” as the source for their mental instability instead of the violence they were exposed to from slavery and domestic violence. Could the source of such a large problem truly be considered this way so as to keep from having to come up with a solution to the cultural violence? Beyond domestic violence and violence from slavery, were there other kinds of violence people were exposed to that was acceptable to name as the cause for trauma? — Ruth Curran

1. The question of whether or not some Confederate soldiers used mental illness as a way to escape service is interesting when combined with the point that one would have to actually go to an institution. It brings up whether a culture of questioning if mental illness was real or being faked has always been apparent, as it is somewhat apart of popular culture now.-Margie Jones

2.In chapter one of The Peculiar Institution and the Making of Modern Psychiatry, Galt is credited with the idea of not wanting separate institutions from people of color. It is interesting that during this time that although there was major racism apparent there were not separate institutions. Similarly to my last question, is there less care for people of color in mental health? As it was thought that the labor that African Americans did was substantial for care, has this trend continued? And what was the effect of people of color who didn’t receive the institutional help they needed or deserved?-Margie Jones

1. I think it is very interesting to note that “the South’s approach to assistance to the needy was uniquely Southern, though heavily influenced at times by trends in American society.” I would like to get a deeper understanding of what this means or how some other areas differ, say like in the North or out in the West. -Jake Martin

2. It really struck me in the section about local help and aid how “aid was perceived as the responsibility of the older network of relatives, friends, neighbors, churches, and members of the local upper class.” What gets me about this is that following the Civil War and Reconstruction times many of these small communities were absolutely devastated so in theory how would the local community help if in some cases they probably needed help themselves? -Jake Martin

1. In the introduction, Galt is said to have wanted to expand his professional network to Brazil and Russia. We've discussed the systems in France, England. But how was treatment in the rest of the world at this time? -RJD

2. Families, slave masters and jails were the three routes of admission at Eastern State. Could individuals voluntarily submit themselves to care at other institutions? -RJD

1. I found the chapter by Dr. McClurken really interesting. Reading about how the Civil War caused specifically families and soldiers from the Confederate Army to experience mental instability was rather intriguing. The entire chapter reminded me of the film Gone with the Wind which I watched for another class with Dr. McClurken. I was especially reminded of the movie during the discussion of how economic instability triggered many people into mental instability. This reminded me of how Scarlett O’Hara had to take care of her entire family and the family farm because no one else was physically or mentally able to. Many people, whether they were women or men, had to deal with this new reality, but could not handle the stress and the new change and ended up losing their senses such as what happened to Scarlett’s father. -Teresa

2. I think it is incredibly ironic how Dr. Minson Galt II died. As mentioned in the introduction of Gonaver’s work, Dr. Galt died of an overdose and that he had a history of opiate dependence. He was sick for four days before he came down with an illness “reflecting on the brain.” It’s ironic because Galt ended up struggling with the same ailments that he was in charge of treating in his facility. It is understandable, considering how much stress superintendents were under, especially during and after the Civil War. However, it’s still pretty ironic. I wonder how many superintendents ended up facing similar struggles to their patients? -Teresa

1. The idea that some of the normal social mores of life in the South broke down in asylums is quite interesting. The practical fact that enslaved people were taking care of institutionalized whites who were at times unable to care for themselves brings up a really unique dichotomy, one where in one way enslaved people had an elevated status in a position of power to whites, but in another they were still performing difficult, unpaid, domestic labor. I wonder then, in what ways did the institution of the asylum reinforce and break traditional constructions of race and status? -RM

2. “Shell shock,” or what we’d now call PTSD, wasn’t invented in the Great War, nor was it in the American Civil War–it has been around for quite a bit longer, and is involved with far more than just war. That being said, my impression is that the aftermath of the Civil War was the first time that “shell shock” was put through the treatment apparatus of an asylum, at least on a large scale. The case of the Confederate asylum patients is fascinating, not just on account of the level of state support made available to the veterans, but also in the idea that more likely than not, this is a sliver of psychological effects of the Civil War in the south, not to mention the US writ large. I’m left comparing the treatment at Western State to what we’ve seen thus far in PA with Kirkbride, and it appears to me (an untrained eye, admittedly) that there’s a lot less of an emphasis on things like moral treatment in the south, and I’m left wondering why that might be. -RM

2023-471g4--week_5_day_1.txt · Last modified: 2023/09/26 12:50 by